Criminal Defense Attorney Charged With Rape

A longtime criminal defense attorney who once worked as a prosecutor will remain held on a new rape charge while awaiting a dangerousness hearing, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said.

GARY ZEROLA, 49, of Salem, was arraigned in the Central Division of the Boston Municipal Court on charges of rape and breaking and entering with felony intent.  At the request of Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum, Judge Mark Hart Summerville ordered Mr. Zerola held without bail pending the outcome of a hearing scheduled for Thursday, January 21, 2021.

Mr. Zerola is already facing charges in Suffolk Superior Court for the alleged rape of a different woman in 2016, and had posted $10,000 bail in that case.

In the new case, Polumbaum told the court that the victim had met Mr. Zerola at a gathering on January 11, 2021, after which he and a mutual acquaintance accompanied the victim to her apartment.   In the early morning hours of January 12, 2021, Mr. Zerola allegedly entered the victim’s residence without her permission and she awoke to find him sexually assaulting her. 

Boston police obtained a warrant for Mr. Zerola’s arrest on Tuesday, and he surrendered to police earlier today. 

Mr. Zerola worked as an assistant district attorney in Essex County for one year, and in Suffolk County for two months in 2000.

“These allegations are deeply troubling.  What’s worse, the offense for which Mr. Zerola was arraigned today is alleged to have occurred while he was out on bail in a prior sexual assault case,” District Attorney Rollins said.  “My office is here to provide services to the survivors of sexual assault, including and up to prosecution of the offender.  We will always provide survivors with a culturally competent, victim-centered environment to receive support and referrals to other service providers.”

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. While the victims of any crime are asked to call 911 in an emergency, survivors of sexual violence can also call their local rape crisis center for free and confidential services and to discuss their options. Support is available for all survivors of sexual violence, regardless of whether they wish to take part in a criminal prosecution. Services by city and town can be found at www.janedoe.org/find_help/search. 

Kate Lagana is the assigned Victim Witness Advocate.  Mr. Zerola was represented today by Attorney Joseph Krowski.  He returns to court January, 21, 2021.

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